Planeshift – who’s Laanx server is one of the few roleplay centric worlds that is not a text MUD or NWN PW – is nearly ready to iterate to version 0.5. Last week, one of the developers, Xillix Queen of Fools, opened a discussion gauging the playerbase’s feelings about a wipe. Predictably, the forums erupted into a massive furor. Planeshift has not wiped in years, despite continual development. I’m not privy to the inner workings of the dev team there, but given that the player reaction to a wipe is going to be highly emotional they have probably been following a trickle down strategy regarding changes; where changes in design are made and slowly filter through the world. If they are at a point where they are seriously considering a wipe and gauging player reaction, then they are probably at a point where they feel that the current database content is a serious technical liability; one that can only be fulfilled with a wipe.
One interesting thing is that the PS team has always been clear that players should expect a wipe sometime and they are certainly not making the mistake that Radu Privantu made on Eternal Lands when he did not tell players to expect a wipe in the future. Yet despite this, opinion is only marginally in favor of a wipe and many, many players are especially vocal in their opposition.
Given that Planeshift is still an avatar capital centric world and that the opposition largely stems from reluctance of many players to re-grind characters at the top of the skill hierarchy, my question is as follows. Would a world design that less avatar capital centric (say with flat skill/level hierarchies) be immune to such drama?